So, you’ve got your favorite DSLR ready to go out and shoot your next feature, but you need to get the display up to a more manageable size and in a position better suited to your shooting style. Among the plethora of available options, be sure to check out Marshall Electronics’ V-LCD50-HDMI 5″ professional camera-top LCD monitor.
Bursting with Features
The LCD50 comes out of the box rather small and unassuming, but then you switch it on and discover that its functionality is vast.
Four user-configurable buttons reside on the front panel. These are to directly access various functions that are assigned using the on-screen menu. Available functions are Ratio, Check Field, Image Flip, Mosquito Filter, Peaking Filter, False Colors, Freeze Input, Aspect Markers, Center Marker, Marker Enable and Pixel-to-Pixel.
Adjacent to these programmable buttons are the menu selection and navigation buttons. Next to these are buttons for adjusting the display’s brightness levels, color and contrast.
Menu items include Video Configuration, Marker Configuration, Filter Configuration, System Configuration, Function Presets (this is where you program those four user-configurable buttons on the front panel) and System Information.
The Video Configuration sub-menu gives you access to Color Temperature, RGB Bias and Gain, Check Field, Aspect Ratio and Pixel-to-Pixel settings. Marker Configuration lets you turn various markers on or off as well as adjust your safe areas at various aspect ratios. Settings such as 95% Safe, 93% Safe, 90% Safe, 88% Safe, 85% Safe and 80% Safe are available.
Filter Configuration turns the False Colors, Peaking and Mosquito Filters on or off. The False Colors filter aids in setting the camera’s exposure correctly, the Peaking Filter is a focus assist feature and the Mosquito Filter filters out compression artifacts deriving from some video sources.
The System Configuration sub-menu lets you turn on or off, and make certain adjustments to Input Format OSD, the Curtain Color, Splash Screen, Contrast/Backlight, Freeze Input, Image Flip and the HDMI Color Space and Aspect Ratio.
Small Package, Big Deal
A couple of very nice features that are definitely worth noting are the False Colors filter and the Peaking filter. Sadly, as we get older, and particularly with the advent of HD images, we can use all the help we can get in achieving, and maintaining, accurate exposure and focus.
The False Color filter helps to achieve accurate exposure levels by changing the displayed colors as you adjust the camera’s iris. Colors change according to the image’s luminance, or brightness, values and a color key is included to aid in interpreting the colors’ significance. For example, human faces should be exposed at approximately 56 IRE. When this level is achieved, the False Color filter will display the area as pink on the monitor.
As the luminance values increase, the color will change to grey, then to several shades of yellow, and finally red. Red displayed on the monitor indicates areas of overexposure (greater than 101 IRE.) Underexposed areas display as deep blue to dark blue while clipped-blacks appear as fuchsia. Green is considered a neutral or mid-level exposure of about 45 IRE.
The False Color filter is a great feature. When your image displays pink and green, you know your exposure settings are dead-on.
The Peaking Filter is a focus assist feature used to achieve the sharpest picture possible. When the filter is switched on, the image goes to black-and-white. As you adjust the focus, portions of the image that are in sharp focus will appear red around their edges. Once you see red in the desired areas you know have reached the best focus possible.
Ends and Odds
Power is supplied to the LCD50 either by the included power supply or by four AA batteries (also included.) Power is switched on via a rocker switch located at the back of the battery compartment. The switch seems overly exposed in this position and may therefore be prone to damage. A better position would seem to be on the back panel alongside the battery compartment. In this way, a blow to the back of the unit would likely impact the battery compartment and not the switch itself.
An articulating hot shoe adapter is included in the kit with which to mount the monitor to the camera. Not included, however, is an HDMI cable. Since this product is targeted specifically to the DSLR user, HDMI is the only input option with this monitor and we think that at this price, an HDMI cable would be a nice addition to complete the package.
Screen Size (Display Area): 5-inch Diagonal
Resolution (Pixels): 800×480
Viewing Angle: L+R: 170° / U+D: 170°
Brightness (in cd/m²): 300
Contrast Ratio: 600:1
Dimensions: 4.86″W x 4.4″H x 1.84″D
Power Consumption: 1.25 Amp @ 5VDC
Weight: .55 lbs. (250g)
- Great size and weight for DSLR use
- False Color filter for exposure
- Peaking filter for focus
- Power switch exposed to possible damage
- Would like to see an HDMI cable included
If you’re looking for a lightweight monitor to grace the top of your new DSLR, check out Marshall’s V-LCD50-HDMI. It’s feature packed and a good value – just be sure to bring your own HDMI cable.
Marshall Electronics, Inc.
1910 E. Maple Ave.
El Segundo, CA 90245
Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.